7 Tips to Save at Disneyland

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by on July 6, 2010

7 tips to save at disneyland

Great tips to save at Disneyland! We have been promising my oldest son a Disneyland trip for over a year- but for various reasons it just being delayed. Of course a Disney trip isn’t exactly frugal, but you can find ways to help you save so you don’t get in debt on your family vacation!

Here are my 7 tips to save at Disneyland:

1)  Buy souvenirs before you go. I know that may sound a bit silly, but  honestly, it is easy to do and it will save you a LOT of money. You can shop for Disney merchandise at the Disney store, in store or online. IMG_7262The Disney Store had shirts for kids for only $3.99 and $5.99 for adults.

Plus many clothing stores carry Disney apparel. I was able to find a few t-shirts for myself at Walmart (and paid less that $7 a shirt). That is much better than the $40 shirts at Disneyland.

Check Target for glow sticks or other light up toys that will be fun at night- we actually had several “glowing” toys left over from Halloween that I brought along.

2)  Bring in your own food and drinks. Disneyland security will check for glass bottles, so don’t bring those, but we were able to carry in soda, juice drinks, crackers, fruit snacks, sandwiches, etc. Plenty of food and drinks so that we weren’t tempted to pay the high food costs at the park. Plus, if you are trying to eat healthier, this is a great way to make sure you know exactly what you are eating.

Note: Head to the park early and grab a locker to store your ice packed food, that way you don’t have to carry it with you on all the rides.

3)  Stay a little further. I was shocked at how low hotel prices were for the Disneyland area. If you stay about a mile from Disneyland, you can save a bundle rather than staying at one of the Disneyland resorts, or even the hotels right next to Disneyland. Plus, many of these hotels offer FREE shuttles to Disneyland so you can save on the parking fee at the park.

Note: Watch for parking fees that many hotels charge. If you don’t see a parking fee listed, you can call to verify before making your reservation.

IMG_7225 4) Make it a car trip. This tip really is for families with children. The price you’ll pay on airfare, even with a deal, will probably cost more than the car ride. Plus, by taking your car, you can pack more (especially food, drinks, and souvenirs!).

We enjoyed our car trip and actually just made it part of the vacation experience (we stopped at the “Dinosaurs”)

5)  Use your points. Not everyone will agree with me on this point- but one of the ways that we save to go on family vacations each summer is by racking up points on our credit card. Of course, I’m not advocating going in debt with your card, but if you are able to pay every day expenses with your credit card, and pay it off each month like we do, then it is a nice benefit.

6) Purchase your tickets online, especially if you are staying for more thanIMG_7316 1 day. Look into park hopper tickets, and multiday passes, but you’ll want to get them ahead of time. The prices at the gate are much higher and there is no sense in paying too much before you even get inside the gates!

7) Don’t forget the “extras”- sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, sweaters (yes, it can get chilly at night even in the summer), film/batteries, etc. Just like your souvenirs, you can purchase these ahead of time and you’ll save big bucks at the park.

Well, there you have it! 7 ways to help you save on your trip to Disneyland. Family vacations go too fast, so enjoy those precious moments, take lots of pictures and more than anything, HAVE FUN!

IMG_7338

Do you have some good family vacation money saving tips? I’d love to hear them…

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  • BriGette McCoy

    hey these all work. I paid $45 per night at a 4star hotel. also we went new years day bought a park hopper and it was virtually no one there the next day. We also drove from our families home in southern cal which saved a lot of cash as well.

  • amanda

    Disneyland will also let you “check in” a cooler. Its first come first serve basis so go early but you can keep a cooler with them and come back for lunch =) its right by picnic tables too!

  • Amy Hurst

    Thank you! Love the ideas. We even go to the dollar store and buy Disney Themed stuff early. I usually buy a blank notebook with a disney character on the front of it for autographs. Also, uncrustables, the peanut butter and jelly sandwitches in the freezer section of the grocery store are perfect because they thaw about lunch time. We like staying a little farther away because we have more options for dinner that way. Last time we went we split a park hoper by selling the last two days on e-bay, but I think they have made it so you can no longer do that.

  • To second Amy’s comment: We have bought blank acid free photo albums and decorated them before the trip – even going as far to create pages for specific characters to sign – i.e., a Mickey page, A Cinderella page – even the cast members at the park were commenting on how awesome it was – and it can be made for around $3-$5 compared to a $12 one at the park!
    .-= Craig Barton´s last blog ..On Prayer =-.

  • Good tip, BriGette- time of year is also a big plus. From my experience, Christmas Day is a VERY busy day. :)

  • Great, tip, Amanda!

  • Great idea on the autograph book! Didn’t think about uncrustables, but those would be even easier than making my own PB&J sandwiches! Definitely on my list next time. Thanks for sharing!

  • Many people don’t realize this, but all Disney parks have a first aid station (often near the main gate). If you get a headache or something, check there before you buy Tylenol or Advil from one of the gift shops. They’ve also helped people with bug bites and sun burn.

    For food, look into the kids menus since they come with a soda (say no ice for twice the amount of drink). You can ask for an extra plate and make a salad from the toppings bar which always has lettuce and tomato. At WDW, one of the kids meals was grilled chicken that came with carrot sticks and ranch dressing. I was able to make a huge chicken salad out of it.
    .-= Cori´s last blog ..More Deals for Bowling =-.

  • Oh wow, Craig- that sounds awesome! I will definitely remember that one for the next time we go. I think my boys will be a little less scaried of the characters and looking forward to meeting them next time.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Cori, that is such a great tip! We went to Sea World a few years back and when I scrapped my knee (yes, it was one of those embarrassing moments), I went to the first aid station and got a band aid, neosporin, and even tylenol. Great to know that Disneyland also has these stations!

  • I should just clarify something. I’m assuming DL has it too, but I’m only really familiar with WDW.
    .-= Cori´s last blog ..More Deals for Bowling =-.

  • Amy

    Great tips! We just booked our first Family trip to Disney Land! We are going in September. One thing I found that really lowered our price was purchasing though Costco Travel. The deals were Hundreds less then purchasing through Disney and purchasing the hotel separate or even purchasing a Disney package. Which by the way if you do purchase through their web site it’s cheaper to purchase the hotel and tickets separately then with the Package. (I would think the package would be cheaper but surprisingly its not!)

  • Pingback: Disney Store: FREE Shipping on Park Merchandise()

  • We stayed at a hotel within walking distance (about 10 minute walk) and paid less than $90 a night. The hotel had FREE breakfast with make your own waffles, eggs, bacon, pastries, milk, juice, coffee, etc. That made our breakfast bill $0! and the hotel didn’t mind if we took fruit and milk with us after we were done eating breakfast, so that became our mid-day snack at Disneyland. Then around 3pm (after the lunch crowd dies down, but before the dinner crowd starts) we’d go back to our hotel rest and get something to eat. Then we’d head back to the park as many were leaving for dinner! Our late lunch/early dinner would be the only meal we had to pay to eat out for the day! That left us a little more splurge money so we could buy a snack at the park if we wanted to later in the night.

  • Great tips–I think we’re taking our family to Disneyland next month. I’m surprised–I thought Disneyland didn’t allow outside food. That will save us lots!

    BTW, where are those dinosaurs you mentioned?
    .-= Eos Mom´s last blog ..MPT6-4th Grade =-.

  • Oh yes, Jackie- I always look for FREE breakfast with your stay. I should have added that! Thanks sharing!

  • Thanks for sharing, Amy! I hope you have fun- and I’d love to hear how your trip goes when you get back. :)

  • Thanks, Eos Mom! I don’t think a lot of people know that and it is one of the biggest $$ savers.

    The dinosaurs are off I-10 : http://www.cabazondinosaurs.com/

  • Thrifty but not a thief

    The toppings bars are not free salad bars. Toppings bars are there to provide toppings for food you purchase. There is a reason why those same restaurants charge for salads that you can add to from the toppings bar.

  • Thrifty but not a thief

    The toppings bars are not free salad bars. Toppings bars are there to provide toppings for food you purchase. There is a reason why those same restaurants charge for salads that you can add to from the toppings bar.

  • guest

    Amy, you are correct. The tickets expire 14 days after first use so you can’t do that anymore unless you purchased the no expiration option (which is expensive and saves you no money).

  • guest

    Amy, you are correct. The tickets expire 14 days after first use so you can’t do that anymore unless you purchased the no expiration option (which is expensive and saves you no money).

  • guest

    Some things to consider:

    – If you drive and load down your car with coolers full of food and drink, you will be paying more in gas. Keep in mind the pros and cons if you are carrying a week’s worth of food with you. There are grocery stores nearby if you drive.

    – The free shuttles from off-site hotels may only have one-two drop off and pick up times. Check the schedule before booking. Taxis are expensive and you don’t want to have to leave at 6:30 pm every night because that is the last shuttle!

    -Go to Mousesavers.com for ways to save money. You can sign up for their monthly newsletter with extra deals on hotels and a lower ticket price for email subscribers.

  • guest

    Some things to consider:

    – If you drive and load down your car with coolers full of food and drink, you will be paying more in gas. Keep in mind the pros and cons if you are carrying a week’s worth of food with you. There are grocery stores nearby if you drive.

    – The free shuttles from off-site hotels may only have one-two drop off and pick up times. Check the schedule before booking. Taxis are expensive and you don’t want to have to leave at 6:30 pm every night because that is the last shuttle!

  • Darcy

    This is so great! My friend is getting married next month and their honeymoon is a roadtrip to Disney World! I’m putting together a roadtrip survival kot, so these are helpful tips I can include to maximize their trip!!

  • Maia

    For those of you who have or are interested in bringing your own food into the park (specifically, Disneyland), there is a Von’s (Safeway in Northern Ca.) just a few blocks north on Harbor Blvd. If you drove your car, you can make a quick trip and stock up on fresh fruits, drinks, snacks, etc. Most hotels have rooms outfitted with a fridge/freezer, microwave and coffee pot. I have to have my coffee first thing in the morning, so I always pick up a can and some creamer too!! Anyhow, this saves you needing to bring a bulky, and heavy!, ice chest, and makes it easier to have fresh foods on hand. For example, I believe a small bag of grapes inside the park is $3-$5!!! Yikes, you can buy at least 1 whole pound for that price, if not more!! Also, if you flew in and don’t have a car, Von’s has a delivery service for a small fee. I have used this service as well and they will deliver right to your hotel room door as long as there is access!

    This grocery system has proven invaluable to us as a family of 5. Between what we saved on water bottles, fruit, snacks, etc. over the last few times we’ve gone to DL, we could easily pay for another short trip. If you are traveling with a stroller, it’s pretty handy to keep a soft cooler with you at all times because the little ones ALWAYS need/want something. DL will let you bring in as much as you want, and if you don’t intend to leave the park for midday breaks, you’re gonna want all that stuff!!! Have a great trip!

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